Quest in Roots:
Brookdale Manitoba History

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JAKE LOEWEN

In September 1971 Jake Loewen accepted the principals hip of the Brookdale School after 17 years of teaching in the Brooke School, Rivers Camp. It was in this year that the old Brookdale School was officially closed and the grade nine students of this district were enrolled in either the Neepawa Area Collegiate or the Carberry Collegiate, leaving Brookdale with 97 grade one to eight students in four classrooms. The staff then included Mrs. Jean McDonald (grade 1 and 2), Mrs. Eleanor Stewart (grade 3 and 4), Mr. BillMassey (grade 5 and 6), and Mr. Don Hardie (grade 7 and 8). Mrs. Helen Mitchell was employed as school secretary and librarian, Mrs. Marjorie Renwick as resource teacher, and Alf and Winnie North as custodians.

During Mr. Loewen''s 13 years in the Brookdale School a number of staff changes occurred. Upon Mrs. McDonald''s retirement in 1981, Mrs. Heather (Stapley) Douglas was hired as grade one and two teacher. Mrs. Donna Christison substituted during Heather''s maternity leave. Mrs. Rosalie Bieganski, Mrs. Jackie Kilburn, and Mrs. Ruth Slezak, successively, taught the grade three and four grade five and six while Mr. Danny Smart and Mr.

Loewen succeeded Don Hardie as grade seven and eight teachers.

Under Mrs. Susan Drayson''s capable direction, a music program was introduced. Her school choirs and rhythm bands excelled in local music festivals.

Mrs. Carol Hochbaum and Mrs. Fran Fraser later carried on with the school music program with increasing emphasis on the band program.

Brookdale''s first physical education specialists were Gerald and Connie Thorn of the Brookdale district followed by Mrs. Joanne Titus, Mr. Bob Hobbs, and Mrs. Heather Douglas.

Resource teachers included Mrs. Monica Gordon, Miss Gloria Kohler, and Miss Lisa Reynolds.

Brookdale School had one of the best organized and most efficiently supervised small school libraries in Manitoba. Thanks to Helen Mitchell, the students and the community had access not only to a wide range of books and magazines in the school library, but also to all the books in the Western Manitoba Regional Library in Carberry. Mrs. Mitchell spent countless hours ordering and cataloguing books, straightening out shelves, and transporting boxes of books to and from Carberry. When Helen resigned in 1982, Mrs. Linda Davidson was hired to replace her both as school secretary and as librarian.

At this time also Alf North retired as custodian and Mr. Jim North stepped into this position.

Some of the developments that highlighted Mr.

Loewen''s years at Brookdale included: the construction of a merry-go-round by Bruce North, the construction of ajungle gym under the direction of Fred North; new curtains for the stage; soundproofing of the gymnasium; the introduction of a computer program.

Me Loewen and his family have lived on a farm in the Justice area since 1966. The Loewens have two sons and two daughters. Both sons are married and they each have one daughter. The older son, Robert and his wife Lori, reside in Winnipeg where Robert is engaged in the real estate sales business.

Donald and his wife Beth live on a farm just northeast of Brandon. Donald is employed as a salesman for Cosgrove Equipment Ltd. and Beth works part-time in the Bank of Commerce. Karen, the older of the two daughters is on a two year assignment with Mennonite Central Committee in Washington, D.C. There she works as a receptionist in a medical clinic in one of the poorest sections of the city. Sandra, the youngest, is employed as nurse''s aide in a nursing home in Saskatoon.

In June of 1984 Mr. Loewen retired from teaching after 34 years in the profession. Together with his wife Margaret, he farms a half section of land and he has recently taken an income tax preparation course and works for Hand R Block during the income tax season. Margaret busies herself with housekeeping duties, off-and-on babysitting of Julia (Don''s daughter) and selling used clothing in the Community Self.Help Store in Brandon.

- - - Any student who had to face January frosts and June heat on foot or horseback would agree that one of the main advantages of a consolidated school district was the transportation it provided.

Over the years the mode of transport has changed from horse-drawn vehicles to big yellow buses.

Some aspects have not changed, however. Students are still taken to school by responsible drivers in comfortable vehicles and the safety of the system has always been a credit to those who managed and operated it.

- - - The first recollection of my childhood centres around the time I started school. On the first day father walked me to the road carrying my lunch which was in a honey pail. Here we met the van, driven by Jimmy Gowan. The vans at that time were horse drawn. I was in high school when cars started to be used - what a treat that was. The older children sat on the seat with one or two on their knee - I never knew of an accident.

 

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